By D. J. Webb
We have been constantly told how nasty, divisive and hateful Donald J. Trump has been in the contest for the Republican nomination for the US presidency. Decent people don’t support people like that, right? Surely we’re all rubbing our eyes in disbelief that the trailer trash are supporting him?
Clearly, I have no knowledge of what Mr Trump is like in private. I could easily believe that all billionaires have to be unpleasant people to get where they are. They have to have the killer instinct. However, what we are being told does not really relate to Mr Trump’s personal behaviour, but to his political views. We are being told that George Soros, billionaire, is a sweet guy because of his left-wing views, whereas Donald Trump, billionaire, is unpleasant because of some right-wing views.
This narrative is extremely self-serving for the left: it nicely sets them all up as, by definition, sweet people. Funnily enough, being a pleasant person has nothing to do with the way you treat people you meet in your life; it is all to do with a number of cheap political views on race, sex, and now things as disparate as “transgenderism” and climate change.
Curiously enough, the views that make one pleasant shift with the political fashion. Two or three years ago, it was considered quite sufficient to support civil partnership for homosexuals. Then, apparently overnight, it was considered bigoted not to support full “gay marriage”. There is a constant shifting in the cultural goalposts, to keep us all on our toes, so to speak, in a way that only those fully abreast of bien pensant opinion can keep up with. We are all potential bigots if our opinions do not shift as fast as those of the cultural elite.
The labelling of those who are left behind the curve in the Culture Wars as “bigots” is in itself problematic. If you don’t like what has happened to society since the Cultural Wars dug themselves in, you are a hater! Such people are thought to approve of Mr Trump’s candidacy (as well as Marine Le Pen in France, UKIP in England, the Alternative for Germany and other similar parties). But where is the evidence for this claimed bigotry and hatred?
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “bigotry” as “intolerance towards those who hold different opinions from oneself”. If we use this definition of the word, surely those who despise the views of those who haven’t kept up with the Culture Wars are the real bigots. The sheer assumption that people who oppose immigration, multiculturalism, transgenderism, breastfeeding in public and a large number of other cultural phenomena must be totally wrong is bigotry.
You can hold an opinion profoundly while still believing that your opponents could well be good people who have some justification for their views: this is the non-bigoted way of dealing with opposing opinions that is really a prior condition for a free society. Once we are unable to conceive of there being more than one legitimate opinion on a host of subjects, we are on the brink of wrapping up free speech and even democracy altogether. On many university campuses, feminists such as Germaine Greer who oppose transgenderism are no longer even permitted to deliver talks. This is bigotry in its fullest sense: if people are “no platformed”, it is because there is a bigoted assumption that only one view should even be voiced. Those who hold the wrong views need to be repressed.
Whatever you think of Mr Trump’s presidential bid, and his likely ability to implement anything substantial for his electoral base, the problem is that a whole section of society, loosely defined as the white working class, are seen, in advance, as not having a legitimate voice in society. The liberal bigots, in a case of the pot calling the kettle black, then claim that this is because such people are “haters”. Are Mr Trump’s supporters attempting to close down rallies by his opponents? No. It is the left who are attempting, by violence, to close down his. The hatred and bigotry they show towards his supporters is a logical consequence of a self-righteous view of the world that demands to be defined against others who are not so righteous: just as the Pharisee in Luke 18 prayed “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers”.
In fact, and contrary to most newspaper reports, Mr Trump has not called on his followers to hate Mexicans or any other immigrants. There is little in the way of detectable hatred among his followers at his rallies. It seems some politically incorrect supporters accept the media designation of them as “angry men”, some telling the media that they are angry with the establishment, but the spirit of his rallies is characterised more by a carnival atmosphere.
After years of being told what to think, it is a liberating experience for many to hear politically correct sacred cows being slaughtered. I doubt many Trumpers believe that Mr Trump could reverse the demographic change wrought on America, but the fact that he hints—and it is often no more than a hint—that he understands their views places him on their side culturally. Mr Trump’s right-wing credentials have, in fact, grown in the telling.
In other words, Mr Trump’s candidacy is more a symbol of the lack of a connection between elite views and those of the ordinary man in the street than evidence of seething mass rage. It seems the ability of the elite to influence the average Joe’s views is receding rapidly. Current polls show Mr Trump will perform badly against Mistress Clinton: I think such polls underestimate Mr Trump’s ability to enthuse millions of discouraged voters to turn out and vote. But whether he is elected or not, it is to be hoped that his candidacy helps to change the Republican Party for good. The prospect of that happening is producing real apoplexy in the American Establishment: it seems the real angry white men are the Establishment figures who assumed they would have it all their way for good and can’t bear to see real competition in the field of ideas.
As it happens, anger is more than justified when one considers the success of the elite plan in America and Britain to transform the population demographically. Should we just walk off the stage of history without a murmur, or should we, in the words of the poem, “rage against the dying of the light”? Be that as it may, Mr Trump is not galvanising popular fury, but igniting genuine enthusiasm among people who have tired of being presented with identikit politicians to vote for. Isn’t that what they used to call democracy? You’d have to be a bigot not to approve of it!